Education Foundation Services
TransformEd Consulting offers a variety of services to both school districts interested in improving their fundraising results and to existing education foundations. These services, described below, are grounded in our extensive experience with resource development initiatives of all manner and the specific needs of districts and foundations.
Our services are directed primarily toward increasing fundraising results.
Education foundations continue to proliferate across the country. Although such organizations have been prominent among higher education institutions and private schools for many years, their recent accelerated development in public schools is conspicuous. Much of this is driven by the increasing costs to operate local public schools combined with reductions in government support.
At the same time, a full range of legal, social, and cultural issues provides a new context within which schools operate. The fact that foundations represent a means toward generating additional financial support for school districts to accomplish their missions and achieve their goals explains their increasing popularity.
TransformEd Consulting works with emerging foundation organizations toward not only ensuring all the early requirements are addressed, but also does so in an expedient manner. Beyond merely providing advice and direction in this critical stage of foundation development, our experienced team members work shoulder-to-shoulder with key personnel in accomplishing the full range of organizational planning and development activities.
This process begins with developing a comprehensive understanding of the interests of the foundation initiators and concludes with an organization that is legally and operationally ready to pursue its priorities.
Beyond a thoughtful vision for the foundation and how it could operate optimally, there are formal filings that need to take place at the federal and state levels. There are also issues associated with Articles of Incorporation that require careful thought. These formalities represent implications for establishing organizational data and information collection systems and an effective reporting infrastructure.
At a more basic level, there are matters of governance that give rise to plans for constituting and developing an appointed or elected governing body and the policy and by-law framework that undergirds this. And these governance considerations inform even more pragmatic matters such as staffing, planning and general operations. Virtually all of these activities must take place prior to the initiation of foundation any serious efforts to generate new revenues.
There is a clear and abiding relationship between the strength and thoughtfulness of foundation start-up activities and the follow-on success of the organization. TransformEd Consulting understands this and builds it into its foundation development work.
The strategic goals an educational institution identifies sets the course for its decision-making and allocation of resources thereby increasing the likelihood of an improved accountability rating. Strategic planning is analytical—particularly given its analysis of the environment—yet it is iterative, where it seeks consensus by re-examining environmental inputs and organizational responses to ensure desired outcomes are achieved. In strategic planning, institutions are attempting to create their future rather than let the future happen to them.
With the support and guidance of TransformEd Consulting, educational institutions are better equipped to select programs that are aligned with their goals in relation to the environment in which they exist.
Our methods involve:
– Forecasting the political, economic, social, and technological, and competitive environment
– Recognizing institutional mandates and clarifying the institution’s mission and values
– Analyzing the institution’s strengths together with its environmental opportunities and threats
– Facilitating the identification and selection of actions the institution must take to proactively and effectively adapt to the forecasted environment
– Assisting organizing resources to implement those actions
TransformEd Consulting’s methods are collaborative and may be formal or informal. We emphasize a bias for action.
The resultant strategic plan may comprise multiple years, thus it must be updated periodically. We provide our clients with feedback and support throughout the relationship.
There are many and varied types of fundraising projects that education foundations can undertake. Some are small-scale in terms of their complexity, time commitment, and likely success; others are larger, have a longer-term time horizon, involve many others, and represent significantly more fundraising potential.
The emphasis in the planning phase associated with project selection is to optimize the fundraising results within finite patterns of human, technical, and financial resources. This is particularly challenging for new foundations with little experience in raising funds. Feasibility assessment is the most reliable way to determine the validity of various courses of action prior to the commitment of resources.
Feasibility studies take different forms including economic, operational, legal, or scheduling perspectives. In all cases, the results can identify reasons to proceed with a project or reject it, enhance its prospects for success, and estimate the return on investment. Results can lead to modifications in a project’s scope, methodology, timing, effectiveness, and success.
TransformEd Consulting’s approach to conducting feasibility studies involves working with a client toward establishing mutual expectations, designing and managing data/information collection methods, analyzing findings, and providing evidence-based recommendations.
The sum of this work not only provides a rational and objective basis on which to consider related decisions, but also serves to sharpen the project team’s focus and promote more strategic thinking and planning.
Board Development and Training
Effective governance in education foundations is critical to organizational success. The governing body of a foundation represents the corporate authority for the organization and is ultimately responsible for all organizational activity. This includes such important general duties as hiring the foundation’s administrative leader and orchestrating a viable strategic plan. Also involved are ongoing maintenance activities such as policy development, meetings, committee participation, financial review, and performance monitoring.
A regular pattern of training and development for foundation board members increases the likelihood of organizational success. Such activities serve to build a strong sense of trust among board team members that enhances overall performance. Boards that commit to continuing training and development also are more likely to be innovative, entrepreneurial, and effective.
TransformEd Consulting’s approach to governing board training and development begins with an overall assessment of board operations and effectiveness. This takes the form of data collection from board members, review of guiding documents, evaluation of group performance, and consideration of outside perspectives.
The former leads to refining board goals and objectives, tailoring methodologies, preparing schedules, and conducting and assessing training--all aided by regular communications with board members.
Perhaps most important, both the governing board and the foundation itself are evaluated for improvements in performance.
Decision-Making and Operations Support
It is critical that education foundations embrace every possible method for optimizing financial, personnel, and technology resources.
Some of these methods focus on enhancing decision-making systems in ways that improve the timeliness and quality of judgments. Others are rooted in simplifying processes. In all cases, there is an ongoing need to extend the efforts of staff toward maximizing revenue generation.
General management of a foundation requires tracking the details of interpersonal and inter-organizational relationships. As such, there is no single tool more powerful than a prospect/donor management system with operational, analytical, and collaborative capabilities. Nowhere is this more important than in deploying an effective CRM (customer-relations management) system and becoming competent and disciplined in its use.
TransformEd Consulting would conduct exhaustive research to identify appropriate options, recommend an array of technology and associated applications to optimize performance results, and assist with training.
TransformEd Consulting is facile with the full range of technology requirements of public education foundations and the applications that serve to streamline operations.